Bend is on the verge of breaking ground on an overhaul of the city’s surface water system.
The city’s initial plans were shelved last fall. That was after a federal judge ordered construction to stop, amid allegations that planners relied on faulty environmental assessments.
Those assessments were used in the city’s permit application with the U.S. Forest Service. After the ruling, the city submitted a new proposal that reduced the maximum amount the city would be able to draw from Tumalo Creek and established a system to monitor stream flow.
On Monday, the Forest Service approved the plan.
Paul Dewey is executive director of Central Oregon Landwatch, the group that brought last year’s court challenge. He says that while he’s still reviewing the documents, to him, this proposal looks a lot like the old one.
“I would say it’s highly likely we will file a legal challenge given what we’ve seen so far,” Dewey says.
As part of the approval, the city will need to wait at least 30 days before breaking ground.